The Chemistry of Popsicles


Popsicles are a frozen, delicious treat that were accidentally invented but have grown to be extremely popular. I chose popsicles because they are the perfect cure for being too hot in the middle of the summer. Popsicles make me happy and even though I could probably live without them, I will never give them up.

Composition of ...

    • water (H20)
    • high fructose corn syrup (C12H22O11)
    • corn syrup (C12H22O11)
    • sugar (C12H22O11)
    • acid (C6H8O7)
    • guar gum (C12H24O12)
    • red raspberry juice concentrate
    • apple juice concentrate
    • grape juice concentrate
    • natural flavor
    • artificial flavor
    • cherry juice concentrate
    • vegetable juice(for color)
    • locust bean gum
    • stabilizers (keep popsicles from dripping like ice when it melts)
    • blue 1
    • red 40
    • yellow 5
    • red 3
  • yellow 6

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

    1. water
    • H2O
    1. high fructose corn syrup
    • C12H22O11
  • 4 calories per gram

Chemistry's Role

Water is completely natural.

High fructose corn syrup is a sugar made out of corn which, just like water, is natural.

However, the final product is man made. It is made in a factory that puts all the chemicals and ingredients together to make wonderful popsicles. Chemistry plays a huge role in making these popsicles. The way the popsicles are frozen is chemistry. This is because the popsicles are almost instantly frozen when put into the water and calcium chloride. The mixture of water and calcium chloride is cooled to below freezing even though the water does not freeze. It won’t freeze because the calcium chloride keeps the water molecules from making bonds with one another.

Background Research

    • created in 1905 by Frank Epperson at age 11
    • popsicles were created when Epperson left his soda outside with a stirring stick in it and it froze
    • Epsicle ice pops were what they were originally called

First water is put into sterilized vats, and high fructose corn syrup, sugar, gum, and stabilizers are placed into the water. Next, the liquid is separated into several vats where flavoring and coloring is added. Inside these vats the mixture is constantly mixed and special inspectors flavor test the batches and adjust the ingredients. The mixture then becomes ice water but is not completely frozen so that it can be pumped through the machines easily. At that point the ice water is pumped into the Vita-Line. The Vita-Line is a stainless steel circular machine with a diameter of 15 feet. This machine generates 4,320 popsicles per hour and there is often five machines for each production line. That’s 21,600 popsicles that come out of one production line in one hour. Inside this machine there is 3,600 popsicle molds that are pre-rinsed, washed, and rinsed again before anything ever goes into them. After the ice water is pumped into the molds through sets of nipples the molds are pulled into tanks full of water containing calcium chloride and cooled to 25-30 degrees Fahrenheit and frozen solid. Lastly, the molds pass through 180 degree fahrenheit water to heat them and the popsicles are pulled out by their sticks and dropped into bags and packed into boxes.


About the Author

Kristin Kaiser is a junior at Billings Senior High School. She loves playing softball and is extremely interested in the medical field. This summer Kristin will travel the United States playing softball with her ASA team in hopes of being seen by many college recruits. Next year she is planning to take classes, such as medical careers, at Senior High and hopes to discover what she would like to do as a profession. Kristin would like to continue playing softball in college but has no idea where she will be attending or what she will being majoring in.